Billy Bush was born in 1920 and raised in a small sawmill town in Northern Idaho. As he was approaching adulthood during the Great Depression, the U.S. economy was experiencing extreme stress and permanent employment for young, unmarried adults did not exist. He saw this as an opportunity to attend the local Junior College and further his education. During that time, 1939-41, he was able to take courses in the primary and secondary Civilian Pilot Training program, flying J-3 Piper Cubs and Waco UPF-7s.
Completion of two years of college qualified him for military flight training in either the US Army Air Corp or the Navy. After the attack on Pearl Harbor by the Japanese on December 7, 1941 he was, with a strong feeling of patriotism, determined to enter the service and “fight the war” as an aviator. He did “fight the war” as a Navy dive bomber pilot. He flew from the USS Hornet CV-12 during this dramatic period of combat in the Pacific—observing firsthand the stark, grim realities of war, he writes of his extraordinary experiences . He served four years during World War II and was recalled to active duty during the Korean War, serving an additional 19 months.
After World War II, with a bride of almost a year, he returned to college and earned a Masters degree in organic chemistry. He worked 32 years in the chemical industry. He and his wife have celebrated more than 65 years of a truly successful marriage. They have two sons and four young adult grandchildren.